Have you wondered how to choose the right dog park for you and your dog? There is always a lot of scary, and bad news about dog parks, but we still go once and a while. We have some things we do to make sure we have a good experience.
Last weekend we went to a dog park we had not been to before. There are a few we have on our “acceptable” list, but why not try something new? The plan was to go for a nice walk on some trails in the area, but it was only three degrees out, so Mom thought it would be more fun to let us run loose rather than getting cold hands trying to hold on to leashes.
How Do We Choose The Right Dog Park?
Mom has come up with several criteria we use before deciding to go to a dog park. It is true that many dog parks have problems with aggressive dogs, dogs fighting, or dogs getting loose. Bailie and I are friendly, but we still need to make sure the dog parks we visit are safe for us.
Is It A Big Dog Park?
We look for dog parks that have room to roam and walk in. At least in our area, most of the dog park websites will have the size listed. Ritter Farm Dog Park is four acres which gives us space to fly around while Mom walks along the perimeter. Small dog parks, especially if they are busy can make many dogs uneasy, feeling trapped together with a lot of dogs in a small space.
Is The Dog Park Fully Fenced?
The Twin Cities has a ton of dog parks, but we have found that a good number of them are not fully fenced. Not only does a park we visit have to be fully fenced, it must be well maintained, including the fencing. We can’t be trusted off leash in an area that is not fenced. Even well behaved dogs may get spooked and run off if there is an escape spot. If we take off out of sight, Mom wants to know we are contained.
What Is The Terrain/Landscape?
For us, a dog park should be fun and interesting. We look for larger parks with areas of trees and brush, tall grass, flat spots, and some hills. The nature factor is important when we choose the right dog park. Some folks may be happy with a flat grass area, but we find it boring. It would be just like our own backyard. A dog park for us means going for a long walk off leash. Mom wants us to race around and enjoy the area while she walks. This would be a personal preference.
How Busy Is It?
Most of the time we go to dog parks during the day on a weekday. Last weekend we went on Sunday, but because it was so cold, there were only a few other dogs at the park. We enjoy meeting some new friends when we are at a park, but we prefer to have our space to do our own thing. Some parks seem to attract people who want to stand in one place to talk to others, and let the dogs do things on their own. That doesn’t work for us because Mom wants exercise too. It’s more fun when the humans are moving around with us.
The Ritter Farm Dog Park is a place we will go again. There were lots of fun places to do some good sniffing, and plenty of space for running around. Bailie was onto the scent of a tree rat who evidently went up into a tree as she was sniffing through the wood pile.
As for me, I had a real blast, but right before we left I got into a patch of sticky burrs. They were all over in my beard, face, ears, and front legs. Mom had to spend about half an hour getting them all out when we got home. That was not fun, but the outing itself was great!
Dog parks can be a wonderful place to go with your dog as long as you choose the right dog park. If your dog doesn’t like other dogs, it is not a place to take her. Sometimes we notice people with questionable dogs/dog behavior. In that case, we simply leave to avoid any confrontations. Hopefully you can get out and enjoy a dog park in your area for some fun exercise.
Our friends at Living Laughing and Barking in Our Backyard is hosting a nature Friday blog hop for the winter. Since we are out in nature, I think this qualifies for a nature walk. Stop by and visit some of the other blogs in the hop.